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NEWS | June 30, 2023

Operation Patriot Press delivers real-world training opportunity for medical logistics

By C.J. Lovelace U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command

U.S. Army Medical Logistics Command participated in Operation Patriot Press in May, providing real-world training for medical logistics reserve Soldiers.

Members of the 341st Medical Logistics Company, an Army Reserve unit based out of Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, traveled to the U.S. Army Medical Materiel Center-Europe as part of this year’s training.

The company included biomedical equipment specialists (68A), medical logistics specialists (68J) and a medical laboratory specialist (68K). They worked side-by-side with USAMMC-E Soldiers, civilians and local nationals to complete maintenance orders, provide logistics support in the medical materiel warehouse and work in the blood donor center, among other laboratory responsibilities.

“Operation Patriot Press allows AMLC to maximize opportunities to ensure that Army Reserve and National Guard units are building readiness and supporting the sustainment enterprise,” said Master Sgt. Danielle Smith, noncommissioned officer in charge for AMLC’s assistant chief of staff for operations. “The successful integration of Class VIII (medical materiel) alongside other sustainment commodities is vital to coordinate strategic, operational and tactical requirements to support the warfighter and joint forces.”

Operation Patriot Press, established by Army Materiel Command, trains active-duty, reserve and National Guard sustainment units to support the Army’s overall strategic positioning objectives.

“This is a big step for Army medical logistics and a great example how to incorporate Class VIII into larger sustainment exercises and training,” Smith said.

Smith explained this was the first time that AMLC, which was activated under AMC in 2019, has participated in this specific training effort.

“The main benefit for this MEDLOG company was getting to train in a deployed setting,” she said. “Their mission is to be a deployable asset at any given time, so this was a great opportunity, getting acclimated to how the warehouse works and supporting three different combatant commands.”

USAMMC-E, one of three AMLC direct reporting units, is the designated theater lead agent for medical materiel, or TLAMM, for U.S. European Command, U.S. African Command and U.S. Department of State activities in the region.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Norwood, a 68A and healthcare technology management NCOIC for the 341st, said Operation Patriot Press provided exposure to larger Army medical logistics practices and functions, specifically in an overseas environment.

“We made very valuable use of our time while we were there,” Norwood said. “Not only did we get to do hands-on training, but we also got into regulations and learned more about how operations work in these medical warehouses and medical maintenance shops.”

For the 68As on the team, they were able to train and work on specialized medical equipment, such as portable oxygen generator systems and critical care ventilators, which is equipment they may not regularly see in their full-time jobs outside of the Army, Norwood added.

The 68Js worked alongside other logisticians in USAMMC-E’s warehouse, assisting in the receiving, packing, shipping, cold-chain management and transportation sections. The 68K lab specialist got first-hand experience handling different blood products and systems in use by the blood donation program.

Elizabeth Kuhl, strategic plans specialist at USAMMC-E, said the training for the 341st helps them prepare for future deployments in that they will know how to order and communicate when setting up transportation of equipment and supplies in theater.

“This is all information they will need to know to enhance their supply chain operations knowledge and experience,” Kuhl said. “This was kind of like a pre-deployment training for them, allowing them to brush up on their skillset and network” with necessary contacts when they would deploy.

Operation Patriot Press is also a “force multiplier,” helping to mitigate manpower gaps, according to Maj. Ibrahim Kabbah, Army Reserve liaison officer for AMLC.

“The program develops reserve and National Guard leadership and prepares the formations of both AMLC and partnered units for the future fight,” Kabbah said. “AMLC plans to project out the manpower needs for future OPP rotations to simultaneously train reserve and National Guard components while ensuring MEDLOG readiness.”